The purpose of dental cleaning is to remove the food debris on the tooth. However, there are situation in which the teeth may need a deeper cleaning and many patients might not understand the difference between the regular dental cleaning and this “deeper” dental cleaning. So let me explain here types of dental cleaning.
There are many levels of dental cleaning depending on the clinical findings which indicates the underlying dental disease process. The clinical findings can be multitude of measurements such as depth measurement of the periodontal pockets around the tooth, the amount and location of the dental calculus and the radiographic finding of bone loss.
The followings are different level of dental disease process and types of cleaning needed to help control the disease progression:
– Healthy Gum within pocket 0-3 mm – This is the healthy gum with periodontal disease. The pocket measurement is from 0 to 3 mm. Absence or almost no bleeding upon probing. Minimal plaque and no bone loss. The patient would need regular basic dental cleaning.
– Mild to Moderate Periodontal Disease with pocket from 3-4 mm – This is a person with mild to moderate periodontal disease process. The clinical finding shows pocket measurement from 3-5mm. There is usually accompanied by bleeding upon probing. Plaque and calculus can be detected below the gum line. Radiograph can show calculus and some bone loss. The patient would need a “deeper” cleaning called the Scaling and Root Planing procedure. It is indicated for complete removal the disease-causing calculus from within the gum pockets on the teeth. This procedure is usually performed at the general dentist’s office.
– Severe Periodontal Disease with pockets greater than 5mm. This indicates a more severe periodontal disease status and it requires more extensive treatment and surgery. Patient might be referred to the Periodontist for periodontal surgery and special antibiotics to help control the disease progress.
So “deeper” cleaning is really just a lay-man term for a special treatment to treat the periodontal disease. It should be better understood as periodontal treatment. I often would tell patient that this is not just a cleaning but rather to cure a specific dental disease.
Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS
Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays
Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist